Perhaps it’s strange, but often I do some of my best thinking in the shower. Free of stress or any specific task, my mind is allowed to wander wherever it might desire. Every now and then I come up with an intriguing thought, and I wish to share that thought with anyone who might chance across this blog today.
Being a religious person in a seemingly secular world, there are questions that are difficult to answer. One such question I have come across from time to time is, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Or even more so, “If there is a God, why does he/she/it allow the bad things to happen to good people.”
Wars, poverty, homelessness, hate, anger, jealousy, envy, greed, selfishness and spite abound in seemingly increasing amounts. These things are experienced not only by those who seem to deserve it, but by those who seem only to do their best to enrich the lives of themselves and those around them.
My own grandmother and aunt, who were also mother and daughter, were afflicted with cancer in their final years. These were two people that exemplified goodness. My grandmother passed away before the advent of Facebook, but my aunt has a page devoted to her memory. It has been five years since this aunt passed away, but people still make posts there from time to time letting her know that she was loved and that she is missed. While death is a natural part of life, all too often it seems as though the best are always taken far too early.
We are left to try to figure out why these things happen. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who taught me that the reason that a person is considered wise is because they are able to answer some of the, ‘whys.’ Often wisdom comes with time and experience. When it comes to God and any sense of an eternal plan, we are often left without any concrete ability to comprehend or know all the answers to these, ‘why,’ situations we encounter.
So, while I was in the shower, I came to the conclusion that our time is not best served trying to answer the unanswerable questions, but to seek a different course of thinking. One can ask why God, or whatever force it is that participates or doesn’t participate in our lives has designed our existence as it is allows such things to happen. Or, that same person can pursue a different line of thinking. Rather than ask the abstract question, “Why do bad things happen to good people,” one might be better off striving to answer the specific question, “What can I do to make sure that more people , whether good or bad, experience a reason to hope that humanity can be better than it seems to be?”
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” This quote is spoken in a letter from the fictional character, Andy Dufresne, to his best friend, Red, in the film, The Shawshank Redemption. This film about a man wrongfully convicted and forced to serve a lifetime prison sentence somehow preserves his hope while having to endure incredible hardship during his incarceration.
Of all the human emotions, hope is perhaps one of the most unique. It allows us the chance to look beyond with is to what might be. It allows us to transcend mere existence to a plane of excellence. It allows us to let go of the questions and turn our lives to action. And so, let us go into this week with a hope that our lives will leave those we encounter without reason to think that bad things happen at all.